The Joudour Sahara Music Program is located in M’hamid el Ghizlane, the last oasis town in the historic southern Draa Valley in southeastern Morocco, a key stop along the salt and gold caravan routes for nomads coming from Niger, Mali, Mauritania, Algeria, and further south from other regions of Africa. Over centuries these nomadic groups settled throughout the region, and today a vibrant spectrum of cultures and peoples still reside in the ancient kasbahs of their ancestors.
The music program focuses on preserving this rich cultural heritage, holding weekly traditional music classes among the Chamra, Ganga, Ahidous, and Rokba music traditions, reaching up to 60 youth through traditional programming. Local musicians also offer modern music workshops for youth, through the popular Saharan Blues style of music made famous by Ali Farka Toure and Tinariwen from Mali.
In 2018 and 2019, Joudour Sahara increased its professional development capacity for aspiring local musicians and youth, implementing a cross-cultural blues workshop with renowned American musician Vasti Jackson and percussionist Maya Kyles, and led sound engineering workshops for more than 50 youth with engineer Lei Lacoste, who works with the famed Moroccan musical Oum.
VIDEO: FROM MISSISSIPPI TO THE SAHARAN DESERT
LIFE IN THE COMMUNITY
For the residents of M’hamid, life is defined by the desert and the oasis. A rich cultural diversity exists here and throughout the region due to the migration of tribes from different parts of Africa and the Arab world centuries ago, mixing with the indigenous Amazigh population. These tribes proudly pass down their traditions and lifestyles, and an environment of peace and tolerance is a fundamental aspect of the community, entrenched among the locals over a long period of time.>Read more
MEET WITH YOUSSEF
Youssef is a 14-year-old young percussionist who loves to play along to the traditional Chamra music of the Aarib tribe. At Joudour Sahara, he is also learning model styles on the djembe, derboka...
International Women’s Day 2020
At Joudour Sahara, female youth participation since 2016 has ebbed and flowed. Sustaining consistent participation among girls has been a challenge but remains one of our primary goals.